Mark Selby and Matthew Selt will face each other in the first round of the 2023 World Snooker Championship in Sheffield.
This season for Mark Selby
After a disappointing 2021/22 campaign in which he battled personal issues away from the baize, Mark Selby has bounced back strongly this term.
The Leicester man came within a frame of reclaiming the world number one position at the recent Tour Championship, losing a thrilling semi-final decider to Shaun Murphy.
But earlier tournament victories in the English Open and the WST Classic have helped consolidate his status as one of the game’s elite performers.
Selby will soon have a lot of ranking points coming off his tally, with the £500,000 cheque he collected for winning the 2021 World Championship set to be deducted.
The 39 year-old will have his eyes firmly set on claiming a fifth world title at the Crucible Theatre, and he enters the competition among the players in the most form.
This season for Matthew Selt
Coming into the World Championship, Matthew Selt had won just seven ranking-event matches throughout the entire 2022/23 campaign.
The Englishman won a lot of matches in the Championship League, but apart from that good moments on the calendar offered slim pickings.
For someone who has a dismal World Championship record, it perhaps came as a surprise that he managed to even qualify this year.
It will mark just the fourth appearance at the venue stages for Selt, who beat Peter Lines and Graeme Dott in the preliminary competition at the English Institute of Sport.
The 38 year-old came closest to winning a match at the Crucible in 2015 when he was denied in a decider by Barry Hawkins.
Selby and Selt head-to-head
Selby enjoys a 9-3 win-loss record against Selt on the main tour, and it’s 8-0 when Championship League affairs are taken out of the equation.
Their most recent tie in a ranking event was the European Masters last year when Selby won 5-3 in the opening round.
Selt represents arguably the perfect draw for Selby as he bids to make it five World Championship titles in ten editions at the Crucible Theatre.
His fellow Englishman is experienced enough to offer a sturdy test, but Selby’s class will ultimately prove to be a telling difference.
Prediction: Mark Selby 10-4 Matthew Selt
Wednesday, April 19th – 2:30pm
Thursday, April 20th – 1pm
Featured photo credit: WST